a PSA re: Julian Assange testifying in embassy spying case

Magistrates Court, Dec. 20

WikiLeaks had Tweeted this background from El Pais yesterday morning: ‘Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange in London for the United States; Spain’s High Court is investigating the director of UC Global S. L. and the activities of his company, which had been hired to protect the Ecuadorian embassy in the English capital’ Sept. 26, 2019, (a few squibs, any bolds are mine):

“Undercover Global S. L., the Spanish defense and private security company that was charged with protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London during the long stay there of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, spied on the cyberactivist for the US intelligence service. That’s according to statements and documents to which EL PAÍS have had access. David Morales, the owner of the company, supposedly handed over audio and video to the CIA of the meetings Assange held with his lawyers and collaborators. Morales is being investigated for this activity by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional.”
The secret probe is the consequence of a criminal complaint filed by Assange himself, in which he accuses Morales and the company of the alleged offenses involving violations of his privacy and the secrecy of his client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribery and money laundering. The director of UC Global S. L. has not responded to calls from this newspaper in order to confirm his version of events.

Morales, a former member of the military who is on leave of absence, stated both verbally and in writing to a number of his employees that, despite having been hired by the government of then-Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, he also worked “for the Americans,” to whom he allegedly sent documents, videos and audios of the meetings that the Australian activist held in the embassy. “We are playing in another league. This is the first division,” he told his closest colleagues after attending a security fair in the US city of Las Vegas in 2015 where he supposedly made his first American contacts.

Despite the fact that the Spanish firm – which is headquartered in the southern city of Jerez de la Frontera – was hired by Senain, the Ecuadorian intelligence services, Morales called on his employees several times to keep his relationship with the US intelligence services a secret.

The owner of UC Global S. L. ordered a meeting between the head of the Ecuadorian secret service, Rommy Vallejo, and Assange to be spied on, at a time when they were planning the exit of Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy using a diplomatic passport in order to take him to another country. This initiative was eventually rejected by Assange on the basis that he considered it to be “a defeat,” that would fuel conspiracy theories, according to sources close to the company consulted by this newspaper.” [snip]

Cameras and external access for the US

After the installation of new video cameras at the beginning of December 2017, Morales requested that his technicians install an external streaming access point in the same area so that all of the recordings could be accessed instantly by the United States. To do this, he requested three channels for access: “one for Ecuador, another for us and another for X,” according to mails sent at the time to his colleagues. When one of the technicians asked to contact “the Americans” to explain the way that they should access some of the spying systems installed in the embassy, Morales would always be evasive with his answers.” [snip]

“The spying on Assange increased after Lenin Moreno came to power in Ecuador. At that time, Morales regularly flew to New York and Washington, this newspaper has managed to confirm. Among the UC Global S. L. client list is Sheldon Adelson and his gaming company Las Vegas Sands. For years the Spanish company has been providing security for the business magnate’s yacht when it is in Mediterranean waters. This job is usually carried out personally by Morales himself.

Adelson has a close friendship with US President Donald Trump and is one of the main donors to the Republican Party. Among his security personnel is a former CIA chief. In 2018 an investigation by The New York Times revealed that Julian Assange became a target for CIA spying under the mandate of former director Mike Pompeo. Official sources admitted to the US newspaper that WikiLeaks was being investigated in search of alleged links between its founder and Russian intelligence.”

Inside a gray box titled: Spying under the mandate of Lenin Moreno is this paragraph:

“David Morales, a former member of the military, created his company in 2008 inspired by Blackwater, the US private security multinational that supported the US army in a number of conflicts including those in Afghanistan and Iraq. One of the first contracts that his company secured was to provide security in Europe for two of Rafael Correa’s daughters during his time in office. He later secured the contract for providing security at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

Who spied on Julian Assange? | Panorama | NDR,

 

Just this morning, Thomas Scripps at wsws.org posted this: ‘Assange gives evidence in Spanish case against security contractor’

The hearing was held in private session. No members of the media or the public were allowed inside the courtroom to see or hear Assange, on the remarkable grounds that the Spanish prosecution of UC Global involves “matters of national security.” His appearance took place 24 hours after he appeared via video-link in a case management hearing ahead of the scheduled February 24 trial on the application by the United States to extradite him. Assange has been charged with 17 counts of espionage and is threatened with life imprisonment over his role in WikiLeaks’ publication of the documents leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning which exposed US war crimes and diplomatic intrigues.

The Morales case has major implications for the US extradition attempt. UC Global was contracted by the Ecuadorian government to provide security for its embassy in London, where Assange sought and was granted political asylum in June 2012. Instead of protecting Assange, Morales’s company is known to have illegally monitored and recorded every aspect of his personal life from 2015 until March 2018. Investigations published by Spanish newspaper El Pais and Italian newspaper La Repubblica have uncovered evidence that leaves little doubt the surveillance was carried out on behalf of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Among the numerous conversations that were illegally spied on were confidential discussions between Assange and his lawyers and doctors, meaning his fundamental legal right to privacy in these matters was violated.

Assange’s British lawyers made clear again yesterday that they intend to use the evidence arising from the UC Global case to argue that the extradition application should be rejected out-of-hand, as it further proves he will not receive a fair trial in the US. A major precedent was set in the 1970s, when the case against Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was quashed following the revelation that President Richard Nixon had overseen spying on consultations between Ellsberg and his doctors.

The importance of the UC Global case was underscored when British authorities initially refused to comply with the European Investigation Order (EIO) issued by Spanish Judge José de la Mata requesting that Assange be made available to provide witness testimony. His appearance yesterday only took place due to considerable media coverage of a formal complaint by de la Mata. El Pais observed that the backdown took place because Britain’s stance was “viewed as resistance to an investigation that could hinder Assange’s extradition to the US.”

Morales and UC Global greatly enhanced security equipment and procedures at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2017, the same year Trump announced a stepping up of US intelligence operations against Assange. This included fitting cameras with recording devices and putting secret microphones throughout the spaces used by Assange in the embassy.”

The lengthy rest is here.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

One response to “a PSA re: Julian Assange testifying in embassy spying case

  1. a heart-rending plea:

    Julian Assange’s mother Christine breaks her silence and reveals her agony as her son remains in jail‘, today; heerld-sun australia

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